Review Date: October 17, 2001
Director: Rod Lurie
Writer: David Scarpa, Graham Yost
Producers: Robert Lawrence
Robert Redford as General Irwin
James Gandolfini as Colonel Winter
But the film isn't a complete waste, in fact, for the most part, it's pretty interesting. Sure, I disagreed with and didn't buy some of the things that they did in the movie and I didn't sympathize much with the prisoners, but on the whole, it was still somewhat entertaining, especially the last half hour, which is the overthrow of the prison. Robert Redford was also pretty good, although all he really had to do was look stoic and be Robert Redford. I bought him as a hero and went from there. Gandolfini was the other pawn in the game, and he was more difficult to rate (I always see Gandolfini as "Gandolfini" in many of his roles), but did break out of his basic acting mold here. His character had a very particular way of breathing, which helped the role, and I also liked the classical music that he always played in the background, and his anal-retentive nature. The rest of the chain-gang was "okay", but honestly, didn't have much depth to them. Only Ruffalo was given a little bit of it, but simply not enough to care about. I think you will either enjoy or not enjoy this movie depending on your sympathy towards its characters. The girlie-girl who came to see this flick with me, loved it and was pretty excited during its final few scenes. I didn't care much for it, because I didn't care much for the cause of the prisoners', and certainly didn't think that their retaliation was believable or required.
But the film does have a good pace and a touching patriotic effect attached to its conclusion, which is why I would sorta recommend that you catch it on video, if it looks interesting to you. I will also go on record as to say that perhaps this wasn't the right "timing" for this movie though (at least for me). I simply could not find much compassion in my heart for these murderers, despite the so-called wrong-doings inflicted upon them. Sorry dude...two wrongs do not a right make. Barely passable popcorn, but highly flawed as a serious drama.